Articles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use

by
Gloria and Thomas Shakespeare, GLOCO, LC, and Atlas Tower, LLC (collectively, Shakespeares) applied for permission from the Board of Trustees of the Fort Pierce Industrial Park Phases II, III & IV Owners Association (Association) to construct a cell phone tower on a lot located along River Road in the Fort Pierce Industrial Park (industrial park). The Association denied the application. When the Shakespeares proceeded to construct the cell phone tower, the Association brought suit, alleging that the Shakespeares breached the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) of the industrial park. After a bench trial, the district court held that the Board did not have the right to limit the number of cell phone towers in the industrial park. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in strictly construing the CC&Rs in favor of the free and unrestricted use of property rather than applying neutral principles of contract construction; and (2) the Board had sufficient authority under the CC&Rs to deny the Shakespeares’ application. View "Fort Pierce Ind. Park Phases II, III & IV Owners Ass’n v. Shakespeare" on Justia Law

by
Capital Assets Financial Services, the owner of property within the City of Saratoga Springs, asked the city council to rezone its property from a low density to a medium density residential zone. The city council granted the request. A group of citizens submitted a petition to the City requesting that the site-specific rezoning be placed on the ballot as a referendum. The City granted the request. Capital Assets subsequently filed a complaint against the City requesting a declaration that the action of the city council was made through its administrative, and not legislative, power. The district court ruled in favor of Capital Assets, declaring that the site-specific zoning was administrative and thus not subject to referendum, and enjoining the City from placing the referendum on the ballot. Thereafter, the citizens' group filed a petition for an extraordinary writ. The Supreme Court granted the petition and directed the City to place the referendum on the ballot, holding that the site-specific rezone of Capital Assets' property was a legislative matter and thus subject to referendum. View "Krejci v. City of Saratoga Springs" on Justia Law

by
In 2006, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District (District) filed an action to condemn six waterfront lots owned by Petitioner. When negotiations reached an impasse on the value of the lots, the District instituted the underlying condemnation proceeding. The jury returned a verdict for Petitioner in the amount of $56,000. Petitioner filed a motion for a new trial, which the district court denied. Petitioner filed an appeal less than thirty days after the entry of the district court's ruling and order. The court of appeals dismissed Petitioner's appeal without prejudice based upon lack of jurisdiction, holding that under Utah R. Civ. P. 7(f)(2) and the Supreme Court's decision in Giusti v. Sterling Wentworth Corp., Petitioner's appeal was not ripe because it was not taken from a final, appealable order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that under Rule 7(f)(2), Petitioner's appeal was premature and that the court of appeals therefore correctly dismissed it without prejudice.View "Central Utah Water Conservancy Dist. v. King" on Justia Law

by
This appeal concerned a challenge by a group of citizens (Citizens) to an ordinance passed by the Ground County Council (Council) approving amendments concerning a Planned Unit Development district. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Council and the developer. In the district court, Citizens claimed the Council had acted administratively in adopting the ordinance, and accordingly, the matter should be remanded to the county board of adjustments because Citizens weren't allowed to challenge an administrative decision in a district court until they had exhausted their administrative remedies. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Council acted in its legislative capacity in adopting the ordinance because the ordinance created a new law of general applicability passed after the Council weighed policy considerations and because it had the formal nature of a legislative act; and (2) the ordinance should not be set aside because of illegality because, for each of Citizens' claims, the Council complied with applicable zoning ordinances. View "Suarez v. Grand County" on Justia Law

by
This dispute centered around two roads owned by the Maceys, their company Family Link, and the remaining defendants (Defendants). Petitioner Nadine Gillmor previously brought suit against the Maceys seeking to interpret and enforce the terms of a settlement agreement purporting to give the Gillmors a limited private easement over one road and limited access over the other road. The court of appeals held that Gillmor had a limited private easement over the roads but that the easement would not pass on to her children from a prior marriage. Gillmor later brought two claims for access over the roads, asserting that the roads were subject to condemnation for a public access easement and that the roads had been continuously used as public thoroughfares for a period of ten years and were thus dedicated to public use as a "highway by use" under Utah Code 72-5-104. The district court dismissed the complaint based on res judicata and imposed sanctions on Gillmor's attorney for filing a claim without a basis in law. The Supreme Court (1) held that Gillmor's claims were not barred by res judiciata; and (2) vacated the imposition of sanctions. Remanded for adjudication of Gillmor's suit on the merits. View "Gillmor v. Family Link, LLC" on Justia Law

by
This protracted litigation arose out of a real-property exaction imposed on B.A.M. Development, LLC, as a condition of a construction permit for a fifteen-acre residential housing development. Twice the Supreme Court remanded the case for a new trial. After conducting a third trial, the district court concluded that the County's exaction did not violate the Dolan v. City of Tigard rough proportionality standard. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court in all respects, holding (1) the district court did not err by including in its rough-proportionality analysis costs borne by state government entities; (2) the district court did nor err by limiting the scope of its review to B.A.M.'s thirteen-foot road dedication; and (3) B.A.M.'s remaining arguments were meritless or inadequately briefed. View "B.A.M. v. Salt Lake County" on Justia Law

by
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) condemned real property belonging to Admiral Beverage Corporation, and Admiral was entitled to compensation from the State for the taking of its property. During the condemnation proceedings, Admiral sought to introduce evidence of the fair market value of its property, including evidence of its damages arising from the loss of view and visibility of its remaining property. The district court ruled that evidence of the fair market value of Admiral's property was not admissible under the holding in Ivers v. UDOT. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the part of Ivers that allowed severance damages only for "recognized property rights" was too restrictive to accord the full protection of the Utah Constitution, was inconsistent with both Utah statutes and the Court's prior case law, and was therefore overruled; and (2) Admiral had the right to recover from UDOT for the decrease in the fair market value of its remaining property resulting from the condemnation. View "Utah Dep't of Transp. v. Admiral Beverage Corp." on Justia Law

by
L.C. Canyon filed an application with Salt Lake County to rezone several acres of its property to allow the construction of a residence on the property. The County Planning Commission recommended its approval to the Salt Lake County Council. The Council then passed an ordinance amending the zoning map to grant L.C. Canyon's requested rezoning. Before the ordinance was to take effect, the Council rescinded the rezoning ordinance. L.C. Canyon filed a complaint against the County, asserting that the Council had no authority to rescind the rezoning ordinance and that the rescission effected a taking of L.C. Canyon's property. The district court entered summary judgment against L.C. Canyon. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the County had a rational basis for its zoning decision, (2) the Council had the authority to rescind its rezoning ordinance before it became effective, and (3) because L.C. Canyon had only a unilateral hope that the rezoning ordinance ultimately would take effect, it had no viable takings claim. View "L.C. Canyon Partners v. Salt Lake County" on Justia Law

by
Appellants, Marion Energy and the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, leased and owned oil and gas deposits lying underneath property owned by the KFJ Ranch Partnership. In order to build a road to access those deposits, Appellants sought to condemn a portion of KFJ's land by relying upon a statute that permits the exercise of eminent domain for the construction of roads to facilitate the working of mineral deposits. The district court dismissed Appellants' condemnation action, concluding that the statute did not provide the authority to take land for roads to access oil and gas deposits. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's dismissal, holding that the phrase "mineral deposits" in the statute was ambiguous, and because all ambiguities in a statute purporting to grant the power of eminent domain are strictly construed against the condemning party, Appellants were not authorized by the statute to condemn KFJ's land. View "Marion Energy, Inc. v. KFJ Ranch P'ship" on Justia Law

by
Appellants Marion Energy (Marion) and the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (the Trust) leased and owned oil and gas deposits that lay underneath property owned by the KFJ Ranch Partnership (KFJ). To build a road to access their deposits, Marion and the Trust sought to condemn a portion of KFJ's land. To do so, they relied on a statute that permits the exercise of eminent domain for the construction of roads to facilitate the working of "mineral deposits." At issue was whether the phrase "mineral deposits" as used in the statute was intended by the legislature to encompass oil and gas deposits. The district court granted KFJ's motion to dismiss, concluding that the statute did not provide authority to take land for roads to access oil and gas deposits. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the statute is ambiguous as to whether "mineral deposits" includes oil and gas, and (2) because the Court strictly construes an ambiguous statute purporting to grant the power of eminent domain against the condemning party, Marion and the Trust were not authorized by the statute to condemn KFJ's land. View "Marion Energy, Inc. v. KFJ Ranch P'ship" on Justia Law